Sarah Eminhizer

Sarah Eminhizer's picture
Basic Info
Wild Gift Class Year: 
Better World Expertise: 
Community Engagement/Activism
Conservation & Stewardship
Public & Institutional Policy
Current Occupation: 
UC Santa Cruz, Coastal Science and Policy Graduate Program Administrator and Advisor
While I have grown up with an appreciation for and a desire to protect and conserve nature, Wild Gift fostered a stronger understanding of the varied approaches to sustainability and conservation (just look at the types of projects Wild Gift alums are doing!). Wild Gift continues to make a strong impression on me and I am ever grateful for my time as an inaugural member of Wild Gift.
Impacts of My Work: 
Inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders
Building networks of solutions-focused conservation leaders
Strengthening and enhancing environmental NGOs, for-profits, and others organizational effectiveness
Helping communities benefit socially, culturally, and economically from conservation
Improving community based marine protected area management

I have more than 12 years of experience as a consultant, researcher, and manager focused on conserving coastal and ocean resources across numerous locations including American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, St. Lucia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and U.S. West Coast. I developed a strong love of nature and particularly the ocean and coastal environment while growing up on California’s Central Coast and spending time at the beach and in nearby watersheds. After my Wild Gift Alaska treks of 2002 and 2003, I completed a Masters Program in coastal environmental management at Duke University with an emphasis in coastal management and sustainable tourism. My masters built upon my B.S. in Aquatic Biology from U.C. Santa Barbara.

Following my masters, I worked as an Environmental Planner in American Samoa where I supported collaborative efforts to reduce human impacts to territorial reefs. Then I spent more than five years working as a consultant supporting clients in areas of organizational effectiveness; monitoring, evaluation, and learning; sustainable finance; and strategic planning. I also contributed to coral reef conservation work as an Associate Program Director for the Coral Reef Alliance. While there, I lead the Fiji and Indonesia programs and coordinated initiatives focused on coral reef adaptation. Most recently I joined UC Santa Cruz's Coastal Science and Policy Program as the Graduate Program Administrator and Advisor.

As a former consultant, I have led more than 20 projects as a project manager and supported over 40 additional projects nationally and internationally. My specializations include project management; partnership identification and design; capacity development; sustainable finance and grants; monitoring, evaluation, and learning at the program and portfolio scales; program evaluation and enhancement; strategic and business planning; meeting design and technical facilitation; qualitative and quantitative research and analysis; science integration and uptake; and effective institutional arrangement design and financing.

Specific skills I apply in my practice include engaging staff and stakeholders (communities, resource managers, nonprofits, funders, and government representatives), developing solutions, and making recommendations to inform strategic conservation and management decisions. I also bring extensive experience executing systematic and efficient program and organizational evaluations and assessments, strategic planning processes, and more than eight years of experience conducting facilitations and trainings.